Whitbread PLC, owner of Premier Inn and Costa, have announced they plan to create more than 6,000 apprenticeships by 2020. They have also announced the launch of a new apprenticeship scheme for Costa. In order to deliver on this pledge Whitbread plans to take on around 1,200 apprentices each year across its Premier Inn, Costa and restaurant brands.

The Premier Inn apprenticeship scheme has been running since 2010 and has delivered over 1,100 apprenticeships at present and a further 950 trainees are currently working towards an apprenticeship. Applications for the new Costa Apprenticeships programme will open in summer 2015 and will provide an Intermediate apprenticeship in customer service and barista skills.

Andy Harrison, CEO of Whitbread says:

“Our 45,000 team members are our greatest asset and it’s vital we invest in them, creating opportunities to develop their skills and build their careers. We will commit £5.7 million to our apprenticeship programmes over the next five years. I firmly believe that investing in apprenticeships is essential to Whitbread’s future success and to the health of the UK economy, as well as helping the next generation to achieve their full potential.”

34 percent of Whitbread’s apprentices gain a promotion within 15 months and 95 percent move into management positions within the same time frame. Apprentices are also 45 percent more likely to stay with the company than non-apprentices.

The Prime Minister, David Cameron, says:

“There really has never been a better time to start an apprenticeship and it’s a huge leap forward to have Whitbread, one of Britain’s leading employers in the hospitality industry, hiring even more apprentices.

“We want Apprenticeships to be level-pegging with a University degree giving millions more people the dignity of work and a regular pay packet. We’ve already created 2.2 million Apprenticeships since 2010 but a future Conservative government is committed to opening up 3 million more high quality apprenticeships – to help strengthen our economy and communities and give millions more people financial security.”

As part of Whitbread’s commitment to tackling youth unemployment, their newest venture, the hub by Premier Inn hotel on St. Martin’s Lane is staffed mainly by local young people who were not previously in education, employment or training. Premier Inn also aims to fill at least half of any new opening vacancies with people previously unemployed.